The Tehachapi City Council approved a construction easement partially on Tucker Road for a traffic signal for the coming Walmart.

Final project issues regarding Walmart are moving along, and the council agenda said “numerous easements, dedications, and quitclaims” are still needed. The council on Feb. 20 approved a temporary construction easement for a traffic signal on Tucker Road, which would be located near Albertsons for future plans when Walmart begins groundbreaking.

This will allow Walmart’s contractor to work with the city’s permitting process.

Also at the Feb. 20 meeting, the council voted to move its meeting location. 

The council will now meet at the Tehachapi Police Department Community room at 220 W. C. St. 

The change was needed to avoid scheduling conflicts, as meeting had been hosted at the Tehachapi Unified School District main office.

The new location may allow for audio and visual upgrades since the police building is owned by the city of Tehachapi. These upgrades could later lead to live streaming of the meetings.

Councilman Phil Smith said, "I like it. It's nice. I feel it’s more informal and it's not much smaller than the other room.”

All council members agreed with a four to zero vote in favor of moving the location.

The council also held a public hearing — although no input was received — regarding whether any changes were needed regarding using Kern Transit Dial-A-Ride transportation for the city.

This hearing was required to be in compliance for requests for Transportation Development Act funding, which helps municipalities gain funds for public roads and public transit needs.

“In order to be eligible for TDA grants, we must first meet our reasonably expected transit needs for the community,” said Jay Schlosser, the city's development services director.

The agenda said the city needs to meet 10 percent of the farebox ratio. The farebox ratio is the ratio compared to total expense. For example, the city had to take $18,892 from the general fund to subsidize the farebox for 2016-2017.

This gave the city an 11 percent farebox ratio and the city received more than $500,000 from the California Department of Transportation to use in transit, street and road fund money. The city is allowed to do this if the funds from a certain number of riders do not meet the operation costs from Kern Transit. In 2016, ridership decreased 12 percent, whereas total costs increased 10 percent, said the agenda.

After no public input was received, the council passed a resolution that there were no unmet transit needs for the city.

The City of Tehachapi offers Dial-A-Ride transit service throughout Kern County using two buses that operate Monday through Saturday. Dial-A-Ride services are available within the city limits of Tehachapi and certain areas of Kern County. The kerntransit.org website says that a reservation is recommended at least a day in advance and same day service is on a first-come, first-served basis. The regular fare is $2, and $1 for seniors and youth.

For more information and to request a ride, call 1-800-323-2396.